By Paul Fong, AFT 6157 President
The “MeToo” movement is gaining momentum across this country and is happening here in this district as well. More and more woman are getting the courage to speak out against sexual harassment and sexual assault. I have spoken out every April during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Union has always taken a very strong stand against sexual harassment, including giving workshops at PD Day. Many of us have also signed numerous pledges to help end sexual assault. It is of epidemic proportions what is being revealed by all of the “MeToos.”
All these big names are headed up by President Donald Trump and others in politics, entertainment and news program. Trump gave credibility to the statement “it’s OK to be men and harass and assault women,” therefore giving consent to many powerful men. These men in power knowingly or unknowingly sexually harassed and assaulted many women.
This “MeToo” movement is identifying many of these prominent harassers and assaulters, but no doubt there is an epidemic of full size; including but not limited to: Fox News Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly; author Garrison Keller, Sen. Al Franken and TV anchor Matt Lauer. Some have retired, some have been forced out, some have apologized (Franken) and some will be brought up on charges.
The worst predator at the moment is former Chief Justice Roy Moore, from Alabama, who continues to run for office after preying on 14-year-old girls with numerous women coming forward to claim assault and harassment when they were underage. An apology will not work for Moore; a criminal indictment is more in line for the denying animal who preyed on children. Conservatives will need a gut check before voting on Dec. 12, for the next senator from Alabama.
Our faculty Union is made up of women and men. Male faculty members have some power in our classrooms and need to be aware of this movement of “MeToo.” This is the time for all male faculty members to put on our best feminist hat and support the “MeToo” in our District. It will take a community of men and womento eradicate sexual harassment and assault. The Union has always been highly committed to work closely working with all Union members in the AFT 6157 to make our District sexual harassment and assault free.
We all must not tolerate this kind of behavior and must be cognizant of this conduct by anyone in a power position over others. We need to become a district of watchdogs, making sure that this does not continue to occur in our District. A State Assembly member has already resigned after allegations of sexual harassment. A State Senator is being investigated for acting improperly toward some interns. The “MeToo” movement is happening everywhere, and it is a very effective movement. Congratulations to all women for their long overdue victory in beginning to put a halt to sexual harassment at its roots. Together we can work to eradicate this issue among us.